What does social realism have to offer for research on teacher identity in mathematics education?
Westaway, Lise, Kaiser, Gabriele and Graven, Mellony. (2020). What does social realism have to offer for research on teacher identity in mathematics education? International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education. 18(7), pp. 1229-1247. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-019-10021-4
|Authors||Westaway, Lise, Kaiser, Gabriele and Graven, Mellony|
Research that focuses on teacher identity is gaining traction as researchers argue that teachers mediate more than mathematical knowledge and skills in the classroom. This research tends to be underpinned by a social constructionist orientation, which foregrounds epistemology over ontology. This orientation is limiting for research that wishes to understand the base conditions that enable or constrain the expression (i.e. both communication and action) of teacher identity in teaching primary mathematics. The paper suggests that this requires research that explores the interaction between structure, culture and agency in the expression of teacher identity in teaching mathematics in primary school. The study argues that a social realist orientation is of value to research on teacher identity. From this perspective, teacher identity is defined as the manner in which teachers express their roles as teachers. As the paper is primarily theoretical, the exemplification is limited to two primary school teachers’ expression of only one role namely effective communicator of mathematics. It demonstrates what social realism enables, that is, not illuminated in research underpinned by a social constructionist orientation. The argument made in this paper elucidates how social realism supports a deep analysis of the structural and agential conditions that enable and constrain teacher identities.
|Keywords||language of learning and teaching; primary mathematics education; social constructionism; social realism; teacher identity|
|Journal||International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education|
|Journal citation||18 (7), pp. 1229-1247|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-019-10021-4|
|Research or scholarly||Research|
File Access Level
|Online||30 Oct 2019|
|Publication process dates|
|Accepted||13 Sep 2019|
|Deposited||10 Jan 2022|
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